The Army Corps of Engineers gave the official nod for El Paso Electric to start work on a 20 MW solar farm that will power all of the division headquarters and most of the eastern sector of the sprawling Texas installation.
The solar farm, to be completed in 2015, is one part of the post’s plans to reduce its energy consumption and dependence on non-renewable energy. Fort Bliss already hosts a 1.4 MW solar array, and has installed a 13.4 MW rooftop solar array on post housing. In addition, another 20 MW contract with El Paso Electric is in the works, as well as a plan with the city of El Paso to convert waste to energy.
Meanwhile, installation officials are pursuing wind and geothermal energy initiatives and promoting recycling and more efficient water use. They also planted 14,700 trees – well on their way to the goal of 20,000 – and have built bike and walking paths and encouraged people to use fuel-efficient vehicles.
The post has a goal of reaching “net zero” energy use, meaning it will generate as much or more energy than it uses.
While reducing Fort Bliss’ carbon footprint and energy costs, the initiatives will contribute to the Army’s energy conservation and security goal of using 25 percent renewable energy by 2015.